path to development
Throughout history there have been movements
of peoples all over Europe with a constant meeting and mixing
of different groups, races and cultures. Thus the multi-cultural
dimension of our present societies in not a recent phenomenon.
However, today we under threat from racism, xenophobia,
anti-semitism and intolerance.
The victims of racism and xenophobia are
usually immigrants and refugees and consequently it is often
argued that the rise in racism and xenophobia is the result
of the global economic crisis and that the problem is therefore
an economic one. This may be part of the argument, but it
is not the only one. There are clear links between the dominant
model of economic development and immigration and refugee
movements but ethnocentrism and aggressive nationalism may
also be a cause of immigration.
This activity helps players understand how
international economic relations between North and South
forces people to leave their country of origin and how wealthy
European countries contribute to the displacement of people
by perpetuating the imbalance of North/South relations.
• North-South relations and the
imbalance governing them.
• The interdependence between
people and countries in the North and the South.
• Development models and their
• Economic relations as one contributory
factor in the development of racism and xenophobia.
• Solidarity, equality, world
Aims of the activity
• To develop an understanding
that the imbalance in North-South relations is one of the
factors which forces people to seek better living conditions
in other countries.
• To understand the interdependence
between countries and peoples.
• To understand racism and xenophobia
as part of a global problem.
Two hours in total. 75 minutes for the game
and 45 minutes for the debriefing and evaluation.
Group size: Minimum
4 people, maximum 40
Equipment needed for each team:
• Game board (a photocopy enlargement
will do very well).
• Four round counters (made of
cardboard, about 2 cm in diameter), one yellow and the three
others of different colours e.g. brown, green and blue.
• One dice.
• Photocopy and cut up the sheet
of action cards. If possible place them in a little box.
• Seventy dried beans, pieces
of macaroni or similar to serve as tokens (to represent
• Divide the participants into
four teams. They can play as individuals, if the group is
• To share out the counters between
the groups: put the counters in a hat and ask someone from
each team to take one. This ensures that it is pure chance
which team plays with which colour.
• Share out the beans. Give the
team playing yellow seven beans and the teams playing with
brown, green and blue tokens 21 beans each (this distribution
corresponds roughly to the distribution of natural resources
between the countries of the North and South).
• Ask one member of each team
in turn to throw the dice to see who starts playing first.
• Read out the rules of the game
• Check that everyone knows what
to do, then let the games begin.
Debriefing and evaluation
At the end of the game ask each team to
look back at the route they took, the squares they stopped
on and what happened there.
If there are any squares that no team landed
on read out the action card to see what would have happened.
Follow on with a discussion about how the
players felt and what they learnt:
• How did it feel to be 'yellow'?
How did it feel to be "brown", "green"
• Are there any similarities
between this game and reality?
• Where is it exaggerated?
• Do the problems and issues
raised occur in reality?
• Who does the "yellow counter
represent? And the other ones?
• Can we say that those represented
by the yellow counter are only present in the North?
• Are those represented by the
other counters found only in the South?
• Who benefits, both in the North
and in the South, from the present world system?
• Can we talk of a "dominant
development model" which can serve as the best one
for all situations, countries and peoples?
• What are the characteristics,
according to this game, of the present "dominant development
model"? Is this a feasible "model" in the
sense that it can suit in practice all men and women, all
peoples on this planet? In the future, would a sustainable
development model be possible? What might it be like?
• What are the links between
this situation and attitudes of racism and discrimination?
Is it fair to say, for instance, that immigrants come to
our countries to take our money and resources?
Tips for the facilitator
When playing with groups, the game works
best if there is a minimum of four people and a maximum
of eight per group.
On square 49, the group playing yellow may
change the rules in any way they like. It is assumed that
they will want to change the rules for their own advantage.
They could make the other teams go back to the start, take
all their beans, make the other teams miss the next 3 goes.
If they decide to change the rules to make things fairer
you should point out that politically this is a very difficult
thing to do as they will have to convince the electorate.
It will be a very unpopular policy and they will have to
explain how they intend to implement it while avoiding great
social unrest at home.
Suggestions for follow up
Make a list of things you can do to improve
the economic situation in the South e.g. buy fair-traded
goods, campaign for political change.
Make a list of things you can do to improve
the situation at home e.g. participate in the development
of local community projects, support small local businesses,
boycott firms which behave unethically.
Consider just how much you really know about
the issues raised in this game. Do you find that it's hard
to obtain accurate, independent information and that news
reports often don't tell the whole story? You can explore
this further in two activities 'Media
biases' and 'Making the news'.
The group may like to think about peace
as an essential part of development. The activity 'Living
in a perfect world' in Compass leads to reflection
about three aspects of being at peace: inner peace, peace
with others and peace with the environment.
Rules of the game
Explain that there are games in which the
rules are not the same for everybody. That is what happens
in this game too. The advantages and disadvantages on the
path to development are different for the different teams.
This may seem unfair, but we have not invented the rules
of this game, we copied them, as faithfully as possible,
from reality. Chance determines who plays with which colour
counter. In reality, this is not determined by chance, but
by historic, geographic, economic or cultural factors that
set the obstacles and the possibilities that each country
and people will meet on their way to development.
You play this game like an ordinary
• Tell the teams to take turns
at throwing the dice and then to move as many squares as
the number on the dice.
• If you fall on an action square
take the corresponding action card and follow the instructions.
• Explain that the instructions
written in normal type font are the instructions for the
team playing with yellow tokens and those written in italic
are the instructions for the teams playing with the brown,
green or blue tokens.
• The first time a team lands
on an action square ask them to read out all the instructions
on the card. Subsequently, they need only read out the instructions
relevant to their team.
• Tell players they must always
follow the instructions and move and/or pay up as directed.
• If a team has no beans because
they have given away all they have, they must borrow from
the team, which has the most, and as soon as possible pay
back what they borrowed.
• The rules of the game may not
be changed unless it is with the full agreement of all the
groups playing or unless there is a special order to do
so on one of the action cards.
Square 3: "Colonisers and
In the past (and may be
still now although in different ways) your country
has colonised others from which you got wealth and
raw materials. Consequently, you can forward one square
and collect a bean from each of the other teams.
In the past (and maybe
still now, although in different ways) your country
was colonized by others. They took away your wealth
and raw materials. Consequently, your team is a bit
farther from the goal of development and you must
give one bean to the team with the yellow token.
Square 7: "Health for development"
You have reached a level
of development that enables you to have a good level
of health care, a reduced infant mortality rate, fewer
epidemics, prolonged life expectancy, etc. Therefore,
you can move forward one square forward.
Your levels of health
care are very low or non-existent. Cholera, AIDS and
other diseases, together with a high child mortality
rate and a low life expectancy, affect a large proportion
of your population which sets you back from your development
goal. Go back 2 squares
Square 10: "Population explosion"
You have managed to control
the birth rate, thus keeping the population growth
rates at a stable or even decreasing level. You therefore
enjoy a good, general level of standard of living.
Move forward two squares.
You have high levels
of population growth and low levels of economic growth
and therefore face greater problems meeting even the
basic needs of so many people. Move two squares back,
getting further away from development.
Square 12: "War and violence"
You possess a strong arms
industry. Your growing sales of arms to other countries
means you are getting richer. The other teams each
pay you three beans and you move forward one square.
Internal social tensions
and the human rights abuse and repression that goes
with it often leads to guerrilla warfare, civil war,
war with neighbouring countries, etc. Consequently,
large numbers of people have sought refuge elsewhere
or have been displaced.
Because of the security
situation you have to keep a large army and have a
high military budget. Give two beans to the team playing
with the yellow counter and miss your next two turns.
Square 16: "The urban revolution"
Your big cities have become
financial and industrial centres of major importance
with big profits being made in property and financial
speculation. Move forward three squares.
The impoverishment of
the countryside has forced many farmers to emigrate
to the cities thereby creating large areas of misery
in the urban shanty towns which add to your difficulties.
Lack of opportunities means you lose your best
workers and scientists who emigrate to countries where
the work, pay and living conditions are better. Move
back two squares.
Square 18: "Men, Women and
Improvements in food production
and storage ensure that there is always plenty. Although
the long-term effects of colourants and preservatives
used in food production are unknown, the fact is that
food is always available. You could therefore move
forward one square. However, since you have also to
face the problems of large surpluses some of which
you have to destroy in order not to ruin the market,
you stay where you are.
the over use of the soils, the misuse of modern means
of cultivating the land and the fact that you have
to sell most of what you produce to repay your country's
debt, makes the food shortages more acute and famine
is on the rise. Miss your next turn.
Square 21: "Informal economy
and hidden unemployment"
The automation and restructuring
of industry increases the underlying levels of unemployment.
You have to devote resources to subsidising the unemployed.
For this reason you should go back one square, but
because the global benefits of trade are on the rise,
you keep where you are.
The absence, aging or
destruction of your industrial base and the crisis
in your agricultural production, means that the jobless
population and the underground economy is growing.
Go back two squares.
Square 24: "Education for
A large sector of your population
has access to secondary and higher education, which
favours development. You also benefit by offering
places in your Institutions of Higher Education to
foreign students from whom you charge pay high fees.
They come because of the lack of opportunities at
home and then often stay to contribute their skills
to your economy. Move forward one square and collect
one bean from each of the other teams.
Illiteracy and the lack
of secondary education for most of the population
means you go back four squares.
Square 27: "A hole in the
Your industries damage the
environment for example, by the extraction of raw
resources, by the pollution caused during processing
and by the disposal of wastes. As a result the ozone
layer is depleted, there is climate change and other
catastrophes occur as a consequence of development.
You wish to protect your local environment and find
that the costs of extraction are too high or the processes
too polluting. You therefore transfer your more harmful
industrial plants to poorer countries and exploit
their natural resources. Move forward two squares.
You face natural disasters
as a consequence of environmental destruction. The
droughts become more common and longer. Polluting
industries settle in your countries, your natural
resources are exported to other countries. Move one
square back in your development.
Square 30: "Technological
The technological revolution
allows you new possibilities for development. Furthermore,
the export market for new technology is highly profitable.
The other teams each give you two beans and you move
forward one square.
The technological revolution
is passing you by. Go back three squares or you may
buy some new technology from the team playing with
the yellow counter. Anything you want to buy will
cost you three beans.
Square 34: "The end of ideology"
Congratulations, the Free
Market has triumphed over all other ideologies. It
is the end of History. There are no more obstacles
to your full development. Move forward two squares.
You are left without
any alternative. The Free Market imposes its rules
and laws on you. Social exclusion and marginalisation
lead to the expansion of fundamentalist and radical
movements. Social unrest is repressed. Because this
frightens foreign investors you will miss your next
Square 37: "At the end there
is always the International Monetary Fund".
The IMF backs up your economic
policies and supports your investment policies of
buying out public enterprises and services of the
poor countries as a contribution to their "development".
These measures provide you with substantial benefits
and profits. Each of the other teams gives you two
beans as repayments on your investment. You move forward
The IMF imposes an economic
policy of structural adjustment on you. Consequently,
you must sell your public services and enterprises.
Unemployment increases and large sectors of your population
fall below the poverty line. You pay the team with
a yellow counter two beans as payment for interest
on your foreign debt.. Move back two squares
Square 40: "International
You must share equally 1%
of the beans you now hold amongst all the other teams
(if you have to cut some beans, do it). You join with
the international development aid organisations to
discuss the global situation and move forward one
You receive some bean
from the team playing with the yellow counter as a
low-interest loan for development. However, you
have to agree to spend it on "goods and equipment"
bought from them. You could now move forward one square,
but since you will have to pay two beans as interest
on your re-scheduled debt to the team with the yellow
counter, you stay where you are. And don't forget
to pay the two beans!
Square 42: "A global communication
The communication revolution
and the development of the audio-visual entertainment
industry allow your social and cultural values to
extend throughout the world. Simultaneously your stock
market shares rise astronomically. You move forward
two squares and receive from each of the other teams
one bean to pay for your cultural products and information
The communication revolution
means that foreign western culture and values become
increasingly pervasive. You begin to loose your own
cultural identity while models of development and
communication, which have nothing to do with your
own culture and history, become generally accepted.
You stay on your square, sitting in front of the television
and miss your next turn.
Square 44: "New migrations,
The growing immigration
of poor people from countries of the South in search
of a better life forces you to allocate extra resources
to deal with immigrants who are arriving in your country.
If you want to move forward one square, you must give
each of the other teams one bean as 'aid'.
The growing emigration
towards the richer Northern countries includes a 'brain
drain' of those who are better skilled and academically
qualified. Go back three squares.
Square 46: "Cutting forests
and extinguishing species"
Your high levels of consumption
force you to exploit new resources in other regions
of the planet. This contributes to the disappearance
of large areas of forests and numerous animal and
plant species. If you played in the interests of all
the teams and not only in your own, you should move
back a few squares, share your money to correct previous
mistakes, and change the rules of the game. But, since
this is not the way to do things in a competitive
world, and because you still have time and a chance,
move forward one more square.
Your natural resources
are being exploited and you don't get any of the profit
to enable you to develop. Desertification spreads,
the climate changes and famine grows. You try to do
what you can to protect your environment but the international
institutions criticise your environmental policies.
Move back one square and give one bean to the team
playing with yellow counter.
Square 49: "A new order .
. . for that which you wish to order"
You may now change the rules
of the game in whatever way you wish to enable you
to get to your goal as quickly as possible. If any
other player or team protests or wants to interfere
with this 'new order' of things, they must give you
all their beans. Move forward two squares.
Try to adapt to the new
order and don't resist. With a bit of luck the new
order being created will not set you back too far
on the path to development. As a precaution you miss
your next turn.
Square 52: "Death"
The risk of a deep economic
recession is a serious threat to your development
model. If you don't want to start the game from zero
again, the only option left is to squeeze the last
drop out of the other teams' players and take two
beans from each on account of debt interests. And
so no one can say that you get all the advantages,
move back one square.
The fall in price of
raw materials and the rise in interest rates on your
debt provoke a severe economic recession. Move back
one decade or, in the terms of this game, start again
at the beginning of the path to development.
Square 54: "Development"
You were really lucky to
have the yellow counter! You have reached your goal
of development. You can be sure that all the other
teams will be far away from this goal and that, whatever
they do, no one will be able to reach it. It is also
certain that you own and control almost all the money
and resources and that there is not much left for
the others. Life for you is very pleasant. However,
there are threats for the future: the natural resources
are vanishing or degraded, the air is poisoned, so
is the water and the land is becoming a desert. Famine
and despair are growing in many parts of the world.
Some immigrants try to flee misery to reach your comfortable,
developed world. But in spite of all, keep enjoying
your development while you can.
If you have any colour token
other than yellow, you either have had incredible
luck or you must have cheated. Otherwise, it is impossible,
for anyone not playing with a yellow counter, to reach
this stage of the game because development is reserved
for the very privileged few. If many people were to
reach this stage, it would be necessary to share the
limited resources more widely, and those who now enjoy
the benefits would have to give all, or most of them,
up. And this would be very unlikely because, it's
they, the few, who set the rules of the game.